Poo Poo Point: Chirico Trail
It’s the time of year when outdoor activities are upon us! And yes, BBQs and dog parks are always a great option for your pup, but nothing drains the energy and fills that sense of adventure for them quite like a scenic trail. My first dog-friendly hike this year was to Poo Poo Point via the Chirico Trail.
The Chirico Trail is located in Issaquah (just a twenty five minute drive east from Seattle), and has its own parking lot–though it does get full during busy hours and you’ll find that plenty of people end up parking on the street. At just under four miles with a 1760 ft elevation, you’ll find a wide variety of trailers from students from Issaquah High actually running the trail (wild!) to seasoned hikers to ammature hikers, like me, with a pup in tow. We chose this trail over the main Poo Poo Point trail due to the length. The main trail is 7.2 miles round trip–though longet, the incline is a little easier to handle.
I was accompanied on the trail by one of our previous SPOTlights, Tayto, for a sunset hike with his owner. As you may recall from his SPOTlight article, Tayto was rescued from Texas. As it turns out, he had contracted heartworm and just finished receiving treatment, so this was his first time back on the trail since his diagnosis late last year!
The trip to the top took us just under two hours (Tayto loves to sniff EVERYTHING, and his owner and I are not very fast hikers). And though there are a few switchbacks (my least favorite), the scenery is picture perfect PNW beauty. Throughout the hike, you get glimpses of the parking lot and road you started from that let you see how much progress you’ve made. And once up top, the view of Issaquah is absolutely gorgeous. You can see a small chunk of Bellevue as well.
Though it was sunny during the day, the clouds rolled in just before our hike, so I have little to say about the glorious sunset colors we were hoping to see over the Olympic Mountain range, but the small wisps of pink we did notice below the slightly gray clouds were their own kind of Washington pretty.
One of the coolest things about Poo Poo Point is that it is also used by Seattle Paragliding! So once you’ve made it to the top and are ready for a snack, you can watch people strap on a parachute and jump from the Poo Poo Point Cliff! It was quite a fun site to see, and now paragliding is on my list of things to do in Seattle.
Poo Poo Point has a few picnic benches and a lot of open space for pups to play. Tayto met a couple of friends while we snacked at the top and watched the gliders descend to the ground. Being a sunset hike, we got to watch the town of Issaquah light up as the evening grew dark, signaling it was time for us to make our way back to our cars with headlamps and flashlights. Even when the sky is still fairly light, once you are in the trees, there is very little light. So be sure to keep your pup close.
I know what you’re thinking: Poo Poo Point is a weird name. Even though it brings to mind left-behind dog waste, it actually got its name from the sound made by an old steam whistle used during the early days of logging on Tiger Mountain. The logging Weyerhouser did in the 1970s is actually what created the clear space at the top that is now used for paragliding take-off!
There are so many great hikes that pups can join us on here in the PNW. Check out the Washington Trails Association search page for all of their trails that are dog-friendly, and get out there! When hiking with pups, make sure you bring them a supply of water, a bowl, and some food. It is also a good idea to gauge your pet’s fitness level before choosing a super difficult hike. I’ve seen way too many people having to carry their old 60 lbs dog during the final leg of the trail before. Start small, and work your way up. But most importantly, have a ton of fun with your pup!
Article by Wendi Black
Photos by Wendi Black and Tayto's owner
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